Student: Philippa Swartz
Advisor: Howard Davies
Studio: Directed Research Project
Year/Term: Fall 2017
Expected to reach mass market by 2025, autonomous vehicles(AVs) have the potential to transform the way we move.Looking at the relationship between autonomous transit, existing infrastructure, and growing cities, this thesis is an exploration of future urban mobility.
AVs are expected to be safer, sustainable, and more efficient than conventional cars. Once market-saturated, I imagine AVs will be used as a car-share service in addition to public and active transit. Building on this speculative scenario, this thesis leads to the design of a multi-modal interchange in Toronto’s city center. Soon to be Canada’s first mega-cit, Toronto will experience rapid growth over the next 30 years. This drastic development includes the construction of numerous high-rise towers commonly featuring a transitional podium level. With little space for new transit architecture, the interchange takes advantage of this area, turning it into a multi-level hub for vehicular circulation, pedestrian movement, and major public programs. The project is located at the base of a 50-story proposed tower beside the Gardiner Expressway, with connections to Union Station, the central business district, and nearby waterfront. Serving as a connective urban tissue, this interchange will allow AVs to move freely to drop-off commuters, deliver food, re-charge, or take part in a new kind of public experience. This proposal is an example of how we can use existing infrastructure in resourceful ways to support a growing transit network, and encourage a cohesive transportation environment, all while embracing new technology.